Our Mission
Experienced Counsel
Zealous Representation
Effective Results
Hamilton Martens, LLC offers a wealth of legal experience and ability to serve clients throughout South Carolina and the metropolitan Charlotte region. We handle a wide range of business law and commercial real estate matters, and are tireless advocates when litigation becomes necessary.

Steve D. Dluzneski

Steve is an experienced litigator and regularly practices in South Carolina state and federal courts.  He focuses his practice in the areas of civil and construction litigation, probate litigation, estate administration, and estate planning. Before joining Hamilton Martens, Steve practiced for three years with a general practice law firm in York, South Carolina, where he represented individual clients and small businesses in various civil and probate litigation matters, as well as provided legal advice and counsel on various transactional matters in the areas of estate administration, estate planning, and business formation. In addition to his experience in private practice, Steve also has experience in administrative law. Shortly after being admitted to the South Carolina Bar, Steve began working as a Hearing Officer for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, a position that he held for nearly a year and a half and in which he adjudicated more than 500 administrative matters.  Steve is proficient in the Spanish language and received an “Advanced” rating on a Spanish Oral Proficiency Test administered by the University of South Carolina. He now uses his Spanish language proficiency to assist the Spanish-speaking clients of Hamilton Martens.

Steve is licensed to practice law in all state and federal courts of South Carolina.   He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 2019, Steve had the honor and privilege of being sworn in and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.

Steve received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Wake Forest University and his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from the Charlotte School of Law. Steve graduated in the Top 6 percent of his law school class, and during his last semester of law school, served as a federal judicial extern in the Chambers of Chief United States District Judge Frank D. Whitney of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

Community Involvement:

  • SC VALOR Veterans Legal Clinic
  • Probate Court 201 & 301: Sun City Carolina Lakes
  • “For the Times They are A-Changin’”: The New World of Guardianships and Conservatorships in South Carolina
  • Law School for Non-Lawyers: South Carolina Wills, Estates, and Probate

 

Practice Areas:

  • Probate Litigation
    • Guardianship and Conservatorship of Incapacitated Adults
    • Petitions to Sell Real Property
    • Contested Estate Litigation
    • Will Contests
    • Guardian Ad Litem Services
    • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Construction Disputes
  • Mechanic’s Lien Foreclosures
  • Debt Collection
  • Commercial Litigation
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Estate Administration
  • Estate Planning

 

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W. Keith Martens

An experienced trial attorney and appellate advocate, Keith has successfully represented businesses and individuals before state and federal courts, in arbitrations, mediations and on appeal.  Keith has extensive jury trial experience and has also presented numerous appellate arguments before the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  His practice focuses on business disputes, construction, and consumer-related matters.  His clients include large and small businesses, governmental entities, contractors, and individuals.  He is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in South Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Keith is a graduate of Tulane University (B.S. 1988) and the University of South Carolina (J.D. 1995).  From 1988-1992, he served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy.  He is a combat veteran of the First Persian Gulf War and a two-time recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal.  During law school, Keith was Articles Editor of the South Carolina Law Review and a student member of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court.  From 1995-2004, Keith was an associate and partner in a large regional law firm, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Keith was recently appointed to the City of Rock Hill Planning Commission.  He also serves as a director of York County MaxAbilities (formerly York County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs).  He has held various positions in the South Carolina Bar and currently serves as a representative of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in the South Carolina Bar’s House of Delegates.  He is a member of the South Carolina Bar’s Construction and Consumer Law Sections.

Professional Profile
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
  • South Carolina Bar, House of Delegates
  • Member Attorney Program, American Collectors Association
Community Involvement
  • Rock Hill Planning Commission
  • Board Member, York County MaxAbilities
  • York County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council, past board member and president
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Herbert W. Hamilton (Retired)

A founding member of the Firm in 2004, Herb retired in 2017 after over 40 years of practicing law. During his career, Herb litigated commercial and construction law disputes, as well as business torts and financial services cases. He represented individuals, businesses, construction contractors and owners in all aspects of contract negotiation and dispute resolution, including state and federal jury trials, class actions, mediations and arbitrations. 

Herb began practicing law in 1975 with the Columbia, firm of Whaley, McCutchen Blanton and Rhodes. In 1993 he joined Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, LLP, where he practiced for 11 years before leaving to become one of the founders of the Firm.

During his career, Herb held leadership positions in a number of civic, charitable and Bar related organizations including the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Haven Men’s Shelter and also received several professional accolades including Best Lawyers in America®† in Construction Law, South Carolina Super Lawyers®.†† and was Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated.

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Christi Porter Cox

A native of South Carolina with deep roots in Rock Hill, Christi proudly serves as the youngest founding member of the Firm.  She is a magna cum laude graduate of the Honors College at the University of South Carolina (B.A.) and cum laude honors graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Law (J.D.)  While in law school, Christi earned memberships to the Order of the Coif and the Wig and Robe Honor Societies for academically being within the top 5% of her graduating class.  Immediately after law school, Christi practiced with Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman in Charlotte, N.C., where she regularly advised and represented employers and businesses in complex business and commercial law matters. Christi continues to focus her practice in general civil litigation, and for over 15 years has represented individuals, businesses, and state agencies in a wide variety of legal matters.

Christi is an active member of the South Carolina Bar and has served in many leadership positions with the State and local bar, including her most recent service as the President of the York County Bar Association in 2019.  A seasoned trial attorney, Christi regularly advises and represents state agencies, businesses, and individuals in both state and federal courts in various general litigation matters including contract disputes, premises liability, insurance disputes, automobile accident litigation, and construction litigation.  Christi also represents select individuals involved in serious personal injury accidents and insurance-related disputes, and she is certified by the South Carolina Bar as a civil court mediator.

Christ is active in her community and devotes substantial time volunteering and providing pro bono legal services to various local organizations.  She currently serves as an elected official on the York County Council, representing her constituents in District 5.

Professional Profile
  • York County Bar Association
    • President, 2017-2018
    • Vice President, 2016-2017
    • Secretary, 2015-2016
    • Treasurer, 2014-2015
  • American Bar Association Member
  • South Carolina Bar Association Member
    • S.C. Employment Law Section
    • Government Law Section
    • Tort Law Section
  • South Carolina Women Lawyers Association
  • Judicial Qualifications Committee, Former Member
Community Involvement
  • York County Council Member for District 5, 2015-2020
  • Appointed by Governor Haley to serve on S.C. Board of Accountancy, 2012-2015
  • Neely’s Creek A.R.P., Member
  • Family Promise of York County, Volunteer
  • S.C. Bar’s Public Service Division, Volunteer Presenter/Speaker
  • Oakdale Elementary School Improvement Council, 2010-2012
  • The Haven Homeless Men’s Shelter, Board Member/Secretary, 2012-2015
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Keith Martens appointed to the South Carolina ETV Commission Advisory Committee

Rock Hill attorney W. Keith Martens was recently appointed to the South Carolina ETV Commission Advisory Committee.  The Advisory Committee is comprised of experts and citizens from around the state who are willing to offer their expertise and guidance to the ETV Commission.  Commission Chairman, Dr. Brent Nelson, appointed Martens to a two-year term, beginning in January 2014.

Mr. Martens is a founding member of Hamilton Martens, LLC, located on Main Street in the Historic Old Town of Rock Hill. He is a litigator and appellate attorney, focusing his practice on business and construction disputes, as well as the representation of banks and other financial service providers.  Mr. Martens currently serves on the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee of the South Carolina Bar, and is a past-chairman and board member of the York County Board of Disability and Special Needs.

Christi P. Cox Appointed to S.C. Board of Accountancy

[Rock Hill, SC – March 22, 2013] – Governor Nikki Haley has appointed Rock Hill attorney Christi Porter Cox to the South Carolina Board of Accountancy.  Read More

United Supreme Court Allows Defense Costs in FDCPA Case

In an opinion issued February 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that a defendant may recover its costs[1] following the successful defense of a claim brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Supreme Court’s opinion in Marx v. General Revenue Corporation, Slip Op. 11-1175, resolved a conflict among Circuit Courts whether defendants were entitled to recover costs following the successful defense of an FDCPA claim.

Some Circuit Courts have held that a defendant may recover costs if it is the “prevailing party,” while other Circuit Courts have held that a defendant may recover costs and fees only when a consumer has brought an FDCPA claim in bad faith. Marx makes clear that the trial court has discretion to award costs to the prevailing party in any FDCPA action. If an action has been brought in bad faith, the trial court has discretion to award attorney fees, in addition to costs.

 

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[1] “Costs” are defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1920, and include -(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

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Courts Hack Away Claims Under the CFAA

Departing employees sometimes leave a business taking valuable company data with them on portable digital devices.  Recent decisions have limited the ability of employers to bring claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in federal court, raising questions for the employer and employee alike.

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